Novartis to acquire IFM Tre with eye on immunomodulatory drugs

Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre : Novartis has signed a deal worth up to $1.575 billion to acquire US biopharma company IFM Tre from IFM Therapeutics.

Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre

The acquisition of the US biopharma company, which was only launched last year, is expected to add certain immunomodulatory drugs to the Swiss pharma giant’s portfolio.

Currently, IFM Tre is focused on the development of a suite of NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) antagonists targeting the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

NLRP3 is an intracellular innate immune signaling receptor. It helps immune cells to identify the presence of pro-inflammatory foreign or endogenous molecules that signal infection, tissue damage or metabolic derangements.

NLRP3 triggers an inflammatory response via the assembly of a multi-protein complex called inflammasome, when it is activated.

Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre | Pharma acquisition news
Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre | Pharma acquisition news. Photo courtesy of Novartis AG.

Commenting on Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre, Gary D. Glick – CEO and Co-Founder of IFM Therapeutics, said:  “Since founding IFM in 2015, our team has worked tirelessly to build a portfolio of next-generation small molecule medicines that exploit the innate immune system as a new therapeutic target.

Gary D. Glick added: “Based on substantial pre-clinical and translational data, we believe NLRP3 inhibition represents a novel approach to preventing the overactive inflammation that drives the onset and progression of numerous metabolic, fibrotic, autoimmune and neurological diseases.

“With Novartis we have identified a partner that shares our conviction in the potential of this approach, and who has deep expertise bringing inflammatory and autoimmune disease therapeutics to market. We look forward to collaborating with Novartis, while continuing to develop programs that target other components of the innate immune system through IFM Due and the broader IFM enterprise.”

Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre gives the Swiss pharma giant complete rights to IFM Tre’s NLRP3 antagonist portfolio, which features a clinical and a couple of pre-clinical programs.

IFM-2427 is the clinical stage program involved in the deal, which is a systemic antagonist for a variety of chronic inflammatory disorders like nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and atherosclerosis.

The two pre-clinical stage programs of IFM Tre, on the other hand, are a central nervous system (CNS)-penetrant molecule, and a gut-directed molecule for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

As per terms of Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre, the Swiss pharma giant will pay an upfront amount of $310 million to IFM Therapeutics in addition to milestone payments of up to $1.265 billion.

Jay Bradner – President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, commenting on Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre, said: “IFM Tre’s compounds have demonstrated that they can fine-tune the immune system, offering a potentially potent approach for treating a large variety of diseases associated with inflammation.

“We look forward to applying our deep expertise in this field to advancing these medicines through the clinic and to patients who need them.”

Novartis acquisition of IFM Tre is expected to be wrapped p during Q2 2019 should it get clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and satisfy the customary closing conditions.

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